27 February 2006

Sunday Night Kitchen Adventures

All this time, I thought Ray just didn't like couscous. Turns out that I just make it too bland for him and he says carrots and cashews aren't enough. I told him that's what I do in emergency situations. If the couscous had veggies and more flavor he agreed he would eat it. Awesome.

This is my plate. It has couscous with green, red and yellow bell peppers, onion flavor (gave the onions to Ray), tamari, lots of spicecs and carrots of course. On the side of mine was a 5-bean salad leftover from the other day at lunch from Wild Oats. It was just ok and the couscous complement from Ray was "your couscous is so much better than this Whole Foods stuff". First of all, Wild Oats (which we don't go to often, it's far). Secondly, of course my homemade stuff is better! What you also see (of course) is Seduction Bread.

This is Ray's plate. He has onions on his and his salad was a black bean/corn type salad.

Our plates.
Yep, I'm officially a cone-eater. I like my ice cream straight out of the carton, but Ray loves cones and gave me one of his. Look at my wonderful ice cream...

And these are the treats for the week:
Ingredients: (all organic), rice puffs, kamut puffs, raisins, peanut butter, brown rice syrup, agave nectar, vanilla, cinnamon, coconut, chocolate chips, cashews, almonds, pecans, walnuts, hemp seeds, sunflower seeds. Yum.

A closer look...

And these I tried to copy that WFM sells for $14.99 a pound. No way am I buying them. I just take a sample every time I go. I tried to make these, but they are still (the next day) trying to settle and dry out.
pecans and cashews, brown rice syrup, maple syrup (Grade A organic, dark), vanilla, sea salt.

I have to go to work now...

24 February 2006

Copycat Cupcakes

I call these Copycat Cupcakes because I was inspired by Dreena's awesome chocolate cup cupcakes with vanilla pudding and kiwi. They looked wonderful and I was of course drooling, and decided to make my own using philo (FilloFactory) dough. These were 15 mini pies. Best part about the pies: 1. organic 2. already pre-baked!!! 3. that means ready-to-eat.

I took the recipe that I always use for chocolate pudding (or chocolate mousse) and I have it posted under "January" if you want to take a look. For this, I modified my own version!

silken tofu
non-alkaline cocoa powder
barley sweetened chocolate chips
organic vanilla extract
agave nectar
hot water
philo dough

I put the tofu in the food processor until creamy. Then I put the cocoa and chocolate in a seperate bowl and poured super-hot (or boiling) water over it and stirred. This was nice to smell. Anyway (I'm weird), then I dumped the chocolate into the processor with the tofu and blended away. Next, vanilla and agave nectar (instead of sugar, and a way better choice this time!) was added and stirred up. I put everything in a sealed plastic container and put it in the fridge for an hour. This makes it firmer and chilled.
After I took the pudding out of the fridge, I spooned intseey weensey sized droplets onto the filo mini pie "crusts" Then I let them hang out for a while back in the fridge. I took them out and was able to add even more on top, to make them a bit pointy, looking like mini pies.

Then it was right before I was going to bed... and I ate one. Wow. Fabulous.

I brought some to work and I loved announcing that the main ingredient was TOFU (do a little dance!!!). My boss and co-worker loved it (though I didn't think they wouldn't.). These are super-tastey and I highly recommend making them. The total "active" time in the kitchen is five minutes. Super-easy!

23 February 2006

Bulgar & Chickpea Patties

Yes, this was as good as it looks (and if it looks like crap to you, then it will taste like crap to you too). I love falafel as I mentioned in a previous post, but mostly eat it outside of the house. We have so many places for falafel here, in fact, if you drive down Apache Blvd. for about 1.5 miles, you will probably pass about 15 places for falafel!!!

Anyway, I love patties, ones with chickpeas especially, and I have been waiting to use bulgar in some other form other than tabouli (tabouleh). I didn't follow a recipe, although it is kinda strange how this turned out. I started off with the idea for patties, especially since they are tasty and you can really put anything in them. I found a photo of bulgar patties that looked good to me (SweetPea) and she assisted me with how to go about making them. I didn't want to just settle for that, and I wanted to center my meal around the turmeric root I bought (see previous post) as well as make tahini-tamari sauce from The Everyday Vegan. I did a bunch of searches through cookbooks, the internet, and my own brain.

I decided I was going to make half-falafel, and half-SweetPea's patties and also add my own stuff. Boy, were these great! There's nothing like not measuring, throwing a ton of good stuff in a bowl and seeing what happens. That's really what I did, and I just kept (ha ha) smelling the mixture to be sure it was ok, as I didn't taste it until I was officially ready to eat.

In preparing this meal, my current calmness and excitement for the outcome of wonderful patties took a big turn... I only had a tiny little bit of tahini and I was basically centering my meal around tahini. I had no access to the car, store or anything, and only about a few teaspoons or so of tahini. I did what I could and the sauce was not as tahinish as I would have liked it to be, but still good. Just more watery, but still ok. I made the tahini while the mixture was chilling in the fridge.

I had the mixture in the fridge for a few hours because Ray had a gig at the Kerr Center and I didn't know when he was going to be back home. It ended up being 10 something PM and didn't start heating the patties until 10:30pm. Ugh. We ate after 11, but it was well-worth it.

List of ingredients (no order)
bulgar (cooked first, then cooled)
chickpeas (same process, but then I put these and veggies in the food processor)
fresh Italian parsley
garlic (a shitload)
olive oil (to fry, just a tad)
red onion
ground black pepper
sea salt
ground corriander
cumin, ground
fresh grated turmeric (my fingers and cutting board is yellow. good thing the counter already is)
red chili flakes
baking powder (a pinch)
fresh lemon juice

I wanted to put tahini in these as a binder, but I was all out. I wanted to reserve it for the sauce.

Our plates. Mine's the one with the red. Same meal for both of us, I am just picky about what my special plate or bowl or serving utensil is. Oh, and having citrus after the meal was fabulous and as you can see again, I still don't have romaine in the house.

Special Treats

I love snacks. Ray loves snacks. Killian (above) loves snacks, but I don't give him these. This is where Killian sits and "helps" me in the kitchen!

I like to keep snacks in the house, except I very seldom buy pre-made or processed snacks anymore. With the exception of ice cream, in which there must always be at least one pint of something soy in the freezer. With that in mind, I have been making a lot of snacks that are simple. Plus, with the "no oven" thing, these are either all raw or stovetop only. I never make the same exact snacks twice, although I do use the same basis for a lot of them. I never follow any recipes, I just make up my own and take what I have in the house.

This time, these snacks are super-chocolately, and I have made these junkier and sweeter than my previous weekly snacks. Ray has told me that they are a huge hit, and people literally slow down and stop in their tracks (or backtrack) to ask him what he is eating. I love it!

These super-tasties were made late last night, as I had dinner after 11pm. Had the alarm set for 5:30am and it's my day off (long story). I just threw in what I had in the house.

I realized that I didn't have any fresh nut butters (I don't keep jars) in the house. Oops, but I still want to make snacks. I decided to make my own cashew butter and didn't bother learning how to first, as it was late. I just put raw cashews in the VitaMix (best thing ever) and ran it until it was somewhat smooth. I think something should have happened, but it was powdery, but when I touched it, it was creamy in my hand. So, I took the ground cashews and put them on a low-heated pot. Then I added brown rice syrup and let it heat together while I took out all the other stuff that was going to be thrown in.

I added a splash of vanilla, cinnamon and agave nectar to the heated pot. Stired for a while. Then I added a handful of chocolate chips to make it a chocolatey snack. Ray loved the idea of this and decided his part of "helping" would be to keep the chocolate stirring so it won't burn.

Oh, keep in mind that when I make these awesome snacks I don't measure anything. It comes out better that way. Plus, what would I be measuring for? If you guys want the recipe, I suggest just adding what you feel is best and whatever you want and it's more fun that way anyway.

Back to the ingredients... Once those were heated, I poured it over the following mixed in a big bowl.

Dry ingredients: (all organic, wet and dry ingredients)
Kamut Puffs
Brown Rice Puffs
Hemp Seed Nut
Chocolate Chips - barley sweetened
cashews (yes, more)
walnuts, raw
coconut, shredded
almonds, raw, whole
pecans, raw
sunflower seeds, raw

There ya have it!

21 February 2006

Earthy Lentil Soup

Yep, it's from Vive le Vegan. Thanks Dreena for creating yet another fabulous recipe, and I love the blackstrap molasses in here for a few reasons: 1, Good source of iron, especially since I used 2.5 teaspoons of it. 2, the molasses made this even earthier. 3, The molasses made this soup browner and tasty and I would have never thought of using this in it myself, so I am super-happy.

The recipe is called Earthy Lentil Soup and it has the perfect name. I served this with whole grain Vegan Sprouted Power Bread (tons of awesome inside) and it was a great dinner. It was a simple, one-pot meal and the only thing I would do different next time is chop the veggies in a food processor, because I sliced and diced all by hand and that was fine, but thanks to electricity and technology (and CuisinArt) this could save me about 30 minutes of prep-work. Other than that, I threw a bunch of great ingredients in, covered it, waited an hour, and finally dug into this wonderful soup.

I love that Dreena has included fresh lemon juice to be sqeezed before serving, and the lemon was not only garnish, I ended up leaving it in there the whole time because the lemon adds a wonderful flare to the soup. I will always eat lentil soup with lemon from now on.

Please feel free to share and comment on any ingredients, recipes or special stuff that you like with or in lentil soup. I am always wanting to make more brown lentil dishes, since I use the red ones so much. Red ones are faster, anyway. What I really want to make is a lentil loaf, but I will need to borrow someone's oven for that.

Turmeric Root

Check this out! I found turmeric in whole-root-form and I didn't have to go very far. Just the co-op! This turmeric root highly resembles the looks and feel of a ginger root. It's super-orange like a carrot. I haven't used it yet because I bought it last night (for 93 cents an ounce, this one was 90 cents total and is about 4 inches long). I think I'm gonna make a bunch more falafel, but who knows. I made my own curry powder last night but only enough to make a total of 1/2 teaspoon (for the Earthy Lentil Soup), so I really only needed a pinch of ground turmeric. I wasn't going to cut/peel into this for such a little amount. Stay tuned...

Oh, and if you want to get your hands on some of this, and live nearby, go to Gentle Strength (co-op). It's in the basket by the bulk herbs/spices and it will only be there until the basket is gone.

20 February 2006

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread Pancakes

Yes, this was super-awesome and I plan on making it again. I really wanted to have lentil soup last night, but after driving to %&$#-ing Anthem and back twice this weekend, I decided quick and easy pancakes would be better. I'm saving up for the lentils tonight. I have been missing my wonderful banana bread since it's been about 2 months now since I have used the oven. Isn't it weird how I love to cook, love to bake, love to take pictures, eat, and talk about food, yet I still won't use my oven! With me being stubborn, I decided to make pancakes (on the stove, duh) that would taste just like banana bread. I love blueberry and chocolate chip banana bread, but I went for the chocolate chip because I made Dreena's wonderful blueberry syrup to go with it again.

I followed the recipe for banana bliss pancakes from Vive le Vegan, but I used bananas and chocolate chips in the recipe. They're barley-sweetened chocolate chips, yum. This actually tasted like banana bread, in a pancakey sort of way, and with the blueberry syrup, this truely was "the best thing ever". That's what Ray always says. I love having breakfast for dinner, especially since I don't like breakfast for breakfast.

And about the fruits... I have a three-tier hangy basket that hangs just above the counter space that I prepare/finish meals at. I decided to just pull the fruits down while the pancakes were cooking and I went overboard and decided to make a cheesy, yet colorful backdrop. I thought it was a lot prettier than the onions, garlic, jalepeno and ginger that hangs on the middle basket.

17 February 2006

Raw Apple Pie

I tried making this for the first time last night. I didn't have dates, but I had a ton of raisins. I need to make this a bit less-liquidy next time.

Crust: organic raisins, raw sunflower seeds, ground cinnamon, raw almonds (a few), all blended.

Filling: organic gala apples (about 6), agave nectar, more cinnamon, fresh lemon juice, coconut shredded

Below is the crust.
I put the apples in the food processor. I could have made them larger to prevent all the liquid. Next time I will. This was really tasty though and now that I have a base and understanding, I'm going to play around with it.

Heaven in Food-Form

I love falafel. Now read the title again (so you get it). I know there are a gagillion ways to spell it, so you may find a few of mine here. Please don't bug me about it (I mean it kindly!), the spelling depends on the origin. And I don't know each one from the next. Anyway, I'll say it again, I love falafel. It makes me so happy and feel so good (while a bit heafty at the same time) but I love it and it is such a great food.

You will not see greens here. I was going to cut up a cucumber, but I thought I'd wait for something else. I tossed the romaine after keeping it for as long as possible, so there went that. You know, I was pretty happy with no greens or other veggies. Whatever, just one time (clears throat).

Back to falafel: It has to be right. I love going out for falafel at my favorite place for that and the best baba (eggplant dip), and I stuff myself until I feel like I have to unbutton my pants. Maybe I should go prepared like I did on V-day and in my pajamas (with elastic and drawstrings, super-softies). I have never made falafel at home from scratch. I had the boxed kind once. That was the last time. Then I would get a bag of frozen mix from a local market (Haji Baba) but I no longer dine there, I just go to the market and buy the super-cheap items that I would never pay more for in a health-food store or standard crappy supermarket.

I've wanted to make my own, but I know there are so many versions. I looked up a ton (for the last few years I've been doing this...). Finally, Everyday Vegan came to the rescue and I decided to make the "lighten up" falafels and I can't remember if I changed anything. It was good as-is, but I don't have seasoned rice vinegar, so I used plain. I also made the tahini with tamari (pg. 74) and it was sooooo wonderful! Thanks Dreena, you make the best stuff. I can't remember if it was bake or fry but of course (no oven for me) I fried them in light oil. Yum. These were awesome and I love the kicks that are in the tahini that make it different from all the basic kinds I have had.

I will make these again soon. I highly suggest doing the same!

16 February 2006

Ridiculous Valentine Sorbet

The Valentine hype is done (at least for another 363 more days) and I decided that I would post this now, because I would make this wonderful fruit sorbet any day, but made it extra special for V-day (nothing was bought intentionally for V-day). The only pink and red stuff was made from strawberries, plums and peaches!

I have been wanting to make sorbet for a while and since I stocked up on fresh fruits, I decided to take those, and the one's I always keep frozen in the freezer, and whip up a wonderful sorbet. This was for sure ridiculously huge, but it was also very tasty and fun to make and look at. I only ended up eating about a bite of each flavor because I was already full from my wonderful falafel, hummus, baba, green salad and about 2 pitas (yes, I can eat a lot for my size).

I decided to freeze the remaining fresh fruits I had in my basket that were not devoured yet. I had a banana, 2 kinds of plums, kiwis, lemon, lime that were fresh. Already frozen was strawberries, blueberries, peaches, and blackberries. I took everything out, cut it up and seperated so I could make colorful layers. I decided to make each kind individually, meaning after each spin in the mixer, I rinsed the container, as well as put each flavor in it's own little plastic container. I made all this Monday night so I could just take it out and put each flavor in the glass on V-day. I like to purchase frozen organic fruits when they are a good deal at the store. I enjoy freezing them because they last and I don't have to worry about ingredients-on-hand.

I also like to eat organic fruits and veggies as much as possible (for many reasons), one because you get so many more nutrients, and not other crap when eating organic foods. I can't imagine biting into a shiny, waxy, injected-with-crap, enormous fruit or veggie that won't even be good for me anyway. That's why I get organic. I also like buying frozen fruits (and sometimes veggies) because they are immediately flash-frozen and that ensures that little nutrients get lost or removed from the foods (exposure to air, etc.).

Back to the point: These are the layers from the top to the bottom. I put my favorite on the bottom and least favorite on top so I could pick around it (not a huge fan of the strawberry/banana mixture, but this was made for Ray especially, and he loves it).

strawberry + banana
strawberry + blackberry
kiwi + lemon + lime
peach + plum

When I put the chopped frozen fruits in the blender, I also added about 1 tablespoon of agave nectar per round in the blender. So, there was probably a total of about 6T of agave nectar, but I also made about 32 + ounces of sorbet! There is still a ton in the freezer, and it's Thursday.

I topped these with oranges from my boss' tree.

This was all really good and really sweet. Except for the layer of kiwi, lemon, lime. That was actually hard to eat and I kept making that funny sour face and finally just moved on to the next flavor.

This was a colorful, thoughtful, all-organic, healthy, tasty treat (for any day). It was also really easy and fast to make. I highly suggest trying these with your favorite fruits. I plan to do this again in the future, but be realistic, and not use so many fruits (unless it's a gift again) and just keep it simple to a flavor or too. I tend to go overboard with many things!

13 February 2006

Limes are Back in My Life

Guess what's for dinner?!?!

What do you think is "hiding" under the shreds of carrots ...

da da da...

wanna take a guess?!?

Do you even need to guess?

Yep... I'm sure you all knew it all along...

*drum-roll please...*

*visualize _______ (enter random-happy-time)*


No joke, it was once again a quick simple meal and I want to eat up this black bean dip, as well as the Seduction bread that is quickly becoming hard (clearing throat...). So, what you see here is even more lime in the dip, a slice of Seduction Bread, couscous and shredded carrots. I put lime in the couscous as well as soy sauce, olive oil, ginger, garlic and sea salt.

That's it, and it was mighty-fine.

Blue Notes

This is of last night's dinner. Did you think it was breakfast?! Let me just tell you one thing: I only like breakfast foods at night.

I started to write this post this morning, and I was almost finished (it was long and detailed), when I was typing so fast (and out of control) that I hit a bunch of keys and I lost the whole thing. I did what I could to get it back, but there was no hope. So, this will either be very short, or depending on the regular rants I tend to get on, it will be just as long, if not longer.

The inspiration for this dinner was, 1) I went to the store and stocked up for the week, 2) Ray's feeling sick, if he's not sick already, and I wanted to load him up with some good stuff and lots of nutrients, and 3) I decided to make this instead of digging into a pint of ice cream (since I wanted something on the sweet side for dinner).

I took out Vive le Vegan (of course) and knew for sure that I was going to make blueberry syrup. I thought about French Toast, but I didn't feel like messing with something that I haven't done in a while. So, pancakes it was! I decided to follow the Banana Bliss Pancakes recipe, but of course, I added my own stuff.

This is what I put into it:
whole wheat flour
rolled oats
baking powder, non-aluminum
sea salt
vanilla Silk soymilk
canola oil (just a bit)
strawberries (frozen)

And this is what our meal looked like:

This blueberry syrup is the best thing ever (well, one of the best things ever). It is just a cup of frozen blueberries, heated in a pan on low heat for a while, and then I added just under a half a cup of organic pure maple syrup, and blended both together. It was magic!!! I am going to make all sorts of fruity syrups now, screw the regular kind!

I wish I took an after-photo, because it was really great. I just thought that showing people my finished up plates would not be the best thing to do! But, in this case, it was pretty and all leftover was the melted blueberries all over and blueberries stuck to the sides of the glass (Ray's not mine, I was stuffed). One of the best parts about this meal was that as soon as I took the photos, I quickly tossed the whole dish of blueberry syrup all over everything (happily, on purpose), fruits and all, and there was just blueberry madness everywhere! It was great.

Then I decided that I should use the hemp seeds that I bought (just a small, expensive bag) and I created a wonderful shake that was perfect for the dinner. Actually, I only managed to drink about 1/4 cup of mine and I was stuffed. It'll keep well for later today. I just knew it would be so much added nutrition to what I already had going on.

Keeping in line with Vive, I conjured up a Hemp Power Shake and it was sooo good. Of course, I added my own stuff, to basically create my own Hemp/Flax Shake, but I am still giving credit to Dreena because her and her recipes are awesome!

My special ingredients in the shake:
Vanilla Silk soymilk
almond butter
hemp seeds
flax seeds

It came out to look really pretty and blue to complement the rest of the meal. I think I had blueberries in my head all day because in the morning I was looking at Miriam's blueberry corn muffins and someone else said they made blueberry stuff, and I love blueberries and blue things, so, hmm, I guess that's what made me feel like blueberries. I wish I felt like eating them more than I do. I did pick up 2 big plastic thingys of blackberries at Sunflower Market 2 for $4. I freeze all my berries, whether I buy them fresh or frozen. Any ideas for using my blackberries, besides straight-up, in a smoothie or pancakes? Please share!

You may think I am crazy, but I stayed in the kitchen after eating (maybe because Ray was the one to do the dishes and he didn't even feel well). I decided to not make the same snacks for the week that I always make and to do something different. Wow, Me doing different stuff!?!? Hmmm...

I guess I also couldn't get enough of Vive le Vegan, so I kept it out and decided that the Totally Nutty Bars would suit just well in this house. I also decided that using every nut and seed I had in the house would also be a great idea! So, I took the basic guidelines from Vive, and elaborated more to get this:

These are a lot like granola bars, and yes, I am still going all-raw/stove-top-only for my sweets. I am terrified of another oven fire. Anyway, all you people are telling me to get over it and you aren't even over here, so maybe I'll just have to. You'll know when I have used the oven again...

Ingredients in my special bars:
sunflower seeds, raw
pumpkin seeds, raw
pecans, raw
almond slices, raw
walnuts, raw
hemp seeds
flax seeds (meal)
brown rice syrup, organic (I think everything was organic, actually)
cashews, raw
almond butter
coconuts, shredded
blackstrap molasses (lots of iron!)
sea salt
rolled oats, just a handful
agave nectar

These are cut into bars and I keep them in the freezer because they keep better and defrost quickly. I highly suggest throwing together like I did, everything you have in the house that sounds good together, don't measure, and you will have a fantastic treat! I love snacks! These are pretty heavy-duty and filled with good energy compared to a lot of others I make.

Go ahead... have some breakfast for dinner.

12 February 2006

People of the World

Even though this is a fairly-new site, I have had great responses so far. Even people locally are asking me for my site name, recipes, and information. I encourage commenting (be honest, yet nice, please) and I encourage those of you who lurk around, feel free to either comment or post a link that I can link you to. I know I am reading a lot more than I am linking, so if you want me to link you, tell me. And most of all, if you have any questions, ideas or opinions of the posted foods, please let me know. I love sharing and networking!

PS... This is Killian eating his greens. He loves soy yogurt, chickpeas (hummus), spaghetti sauce, and a variety of fruits. Oh, he loves zucchini, it's super-cute. Too bad I cannot raise him vegetarian/vegan like I will with my future-puppydog.

Black Bean Dip

I cannot possibly eat any more emergency couscous this week at all! I almost gave in last night(again) but instead decided that black bean dip would be healthier and just as fast anyways. I don't know what is wrong with me letting myself get so hungry that I don't feel well. I seriously know better than that. Maybe just because I am used to eating early at work and when I'm home I forget to eat. Even when I'm cooking, I am more into that than the soon-to-be-eating-part. Back to the black beans...

I recently had some black bean dip with lime and it was fantastic. Unfortunately, I didn't have any limes in the house and I was lucky enough to have one crappy lemon left over. I decided to go for it and this is what I put in it:

2 cans organic black beans, rinsed and drained (quick easy way, I usually don't like cans)
2-3 cloves garlic, I use a lot since I love garlic and it's super-good for you
about a half lemon, squeezed
about 1 tablespoon olive oil
about 3 tablespoons tahini (probably more than I needed)
pinch of sea salt
about 1 teaspoon cumin
about 1 teaspoon paprika (maybe less, I didn't measure)
a pinch of chili flakes

That's it. It was super-easy, fast and great with whatever you have in the house: chopped carrots, celery, brocolli, other veggies, crackers, bread, pita, right off the spoon, it doesn't matter.

Verdict: 9 out of 10. Ten would have been if I had some limes. Today is the store day anyway so I am planning on stocking up.

11 February 2006

Brownest Brown Rice Pudding

This is titled the way it is for three reasons:
1. This is indeed, brown rice pudding
2. This is rice pudding that is extra brown because I used too much cinnamon
3. My favorite color is brown

I looked over a recipe from Le Dolce Vegan and kind of made it my own.

Ingredients I used:
2 cups brown rice, already cooked from the other day
2.5 cups soy milk, vanilla flavored (aka, regular to me)
about 1/4 cup agave nectar
about 1.5 teaspoons vanilla
way too much cinnamon (possibly up to 2 teaspoons, maybe more knowing me)
1/2 cup raisins, organic

I threw all this in a pot and simmered it for about 25 minutes. I think it would have been ok at 15 minutes but this was my first time ever making rice pudding. We have some at work, but it's made with cow's milk and I have always wanted to try a soy kind. I think it's good, but a bit too sweet for me and for sure an overload on the cinnamon. I'll still eat some anyway, that is, until I cannot handle any more sweetness.

PS... Look Miriam, I used the macro mode in the first photo... (I think it's the flower, right?!?)

10 February 2006

Orange Dressing Couscous

Last night I had emergency couscous. See "Simply Couscous" to understand my situation. So, with the couscous I had leftover "orange dressing" from Vive and I decided to put some soy sauce, shredded carrots and the orange dressing in the couscous. It was simple but very good. I was pleased with the flavors and I am so thankful that I made a new dressing as well as found a new way to make couscous. It was still ready in five minutes because the dressing was in a container already.

No photo, it wasn't worth it (looks-wise) but it tasted fabulous.

Oh, but I also had couscous this week for dinner before, as well as a bunch at work today... still not sick of it though!

PS... a crazy customer lady at work kept calling it coo-coo... weird.

09 February 2006

Quinoa Lentil Stew

This was super-good. I have made it one more time since this time (which was about a month ago) and I have made similiar versions as well.

I followed this recipe from La Dolce Vegan (Sarah Kramer's book) and I followed it exactly except I lowered the onion amount. The ingredients (but not exact recipe) are as follows:
chopped onion
olive oil
veg broth
red lentils
sea salt
black pepper
apple cider vinegar

This stew was soooo good. Here's a close-up shot.

And these are our meals... ta da.

I can't remember what kind of bread that was. Doesn't look like my favorite Seduction bread, so it's probably a fancy whole wheat or something. The important stuff is the stew anyway!

Coffee Crumb Cake

Yes, this is absolute goodness. A bit on the heavy side but certainly well-worth it and when I mean worth it, I mean, cost of ingredients, time, fatness, number of ingredients/steps in recipe, and the oven/kitchen setting fire... yes, this cake is still worth it.

I didn't know it was going to be this fabulous when I read the recipe from The Candle Cafe Cookbook. The first time I made this this is what happened (from previous post):
"Can't Have Your Guac and Cake and Eat it Too. "
Looks like the Ohio State people are done milkin' the good weather. What a crazy week around here. I am glad I live here and don't have to visit good weather. Today on Mill was more like a regular day, and I am super-glad that all this holiday bullshit is over. Whew.
I guess it works out that I was lazy about posting my homemade guac photos, because that came out like crap, and the next day I made a cake that came out like crap. In that case, I'll post both of these together and try to make another cake tonight during halftime.
It started out that I bought 3 avocados and decided to make guac for the first real time. Lydia makes it at work and its fabulous but I am too busy to just watch her make it and she is picky regarding sharing her stuff. In that case, I used my common sense and put together avocados (ripened), lemon juice (fresh), cilantro, tomatoes and onion. What the hell did I do wrong? How does one fuck up guac? I don't know but usually the answer to those questions is: Leslie fucks it up.
So the photos look great but the guac was shit.
Enough of that. I had guac at work today and I am happy and over it.
So then I'm flipping through this cook book (people in NY, do you know of The Candle Cafe? I think it's on the Upper East Side if there is such thing as that. Hmm.) Well, it has fabulous recipes in the book and I have had the book for 2 years now. I decided to go for it and make this cinnamon crumb cake that had a shitload of ingredients, some fancy ones too, and some expensive. It just so happened that I have stocked my pantry well and had all the stuff, so I prepared the cake. Everything was fine, it was pretty in 4 layers (2 layers were of chopped raw almonds and pecans and cinnamon/sugar mixture). I had it in the oven for 15 out of the 35 total minutes when all of a sudden my whole freakin kitchen was filled with smoke and the damn oven was on fire and I freaked out (as I am now afraid of fire, re: apartment fireplace fire last year). I was running around like an idiot until finally I realized I didn't have enough baking soda to put out the flames and a fire extinguisher was not the way to go in this case. So we were lucky, the fire went out and the whole house smelled like awesome cake that is now ruined.
Now the whole reason why the fire started in the first place was because I don't know better from a 9-inch pan and an 8-inch pan. I mean, come on, I didn't measure, and I guess that would have been the smartest most practical thing to do, but no, I am stubborn and that's just what I do. The hard stuff. So not knowing what size pan I had, I decided not to use a bigger one instead (why?) and just put the thing in the oven. After minutes of rising spillover, the fire sparked.
So I pull the pan out which is leaking batter EVERYWHERE and transfer it into a bigger pan. I called a few people who live close so I could possibly use their ovens to salvage my cake. From having a B.S. degree in Nutrition/Food Science but more really my common sense, I do know that once you take a cake out of the oven, or even open the oven during the first half of cooking, that will make the middle sink in and cause for the cake not to rise. I know that, duh. But because of all the freakin ingredients I used, all the time, energy, technique and fancy ingredients must I say again, I had to do what I could.
Finally I ran over to Nate's and that was an interesting drive. Ray stayed home watching the Fiesta Bowl (woo hoo its down the street!) and I drove as slow and carefully as I could 2 miles holding this cake half cooked runny oily dough in the passenger seat praying to whoever that there wouldn't be batter all over the car. I made it there and baked this damn thing for a whole another 45 minutes. That's longer than the initial baking time. I did what I could and mostly just watched through the oven hopelessly all the bubbly grease at the top and a sunken middle.
When I took it out (after obtaining 2 new CDs, D. Grisman and J. Garcia Not for Kids Only and a Bela Fleck (w/Edgar Myer) "classical" cd) the cake cooled and I brought it home.
It smelled fabulous so we had to try it. It tasted good but not what the consistency should have been. It was hard to chew, but flavor was good. I can now happily say that I did everything right until the sizing pan part. That fucked everything up but now I know. So tonight, I am gonna have a go at it again and see what happens. Ray's sis is staying with us for a few days so she is going to help me.
Here's evidence of the disaster but this looks great compared to how it was because you have to understand that I am not going to start taking photos of "the good stuff" while it is happening because to be completely honest, I was scared shitless and didn't even know what to think other than that we would have to evacuate (again) and freak out more. So, these are after photos and the mess is better, but you get the idea.

This is what we salvaged...

After the smoke cleared, I calmed down, and reached for the camera.

If you managed to get through the above, here's the ingredients and more wonderful stuff about this cake. I suggest indulging whenever possible. This cake is worth the fanciness of the recipe and ingredients. Try it.

Cinnamon Crumb Coffee Cake (I use organic ingredients wherever possible) By the way... this is a 4 layer cake. First batter, then topping, batter then topping. Yum.

Cake:Earth Balance or other margarine
Raw Sugar
Flax Seeds
Vanilla Extract
Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
Whole Wheat Flour
Baking Powder (I use non-aluminum always)
Baking Soda
Sea Salt

Now you need a "sour cream mixture" to add to the cake mix:
Firm Tofu
Safflower Oil
Fresh Lemon Juice
Apple Cider Vinegar
Sea salt (again)
Topping: (the best best best part)
Raw Sugar
Chopped pecans, raw
Chopped almonds, raw
more Earth Balance (ugh, I know...)

This is the best cake I have ever made. Mmm. The cake firmed up and raised up a bit after cooling. It was best out of the oven, but I also prefer it cold and refrigerated. Either way, its the best cake ever. Yum.